It doesn’t take long to realise Iceland isn’t finished yet. Drive east of its cosmopolitan capital, Reykjavik, to cross a lava desert, witness the earth gasp and, at Skógafoss, see a river fall from the sky. Past Vik, glaciers grind on to beaches as black as soot. It feels less a road trip than a Viking saga – not bad for one day! Not enough time for a two-week circuit? My tip is balance Reykjavik with the untamed Westfjords.
Witnessing a country being born is half the appeal. The other is joining locals who treat their raw surroundings like a giant adventure playground. What do you fancy – hiking up active volcanoes, diving between tectonic plates in the Thingvellir National Park, riding Viking horses or simply lolling in the geothermic Blue Lagoon?
Apparently, 20% of Icelanders believe in elves. Spend time in this real Middle Earth and who’s to say they’re wrong?